Archive for February, 2008

Ah, the DMV. Gotta love it.

There are DMV stories, and then there are DMV Stories. I love this part best:

“The DMV worker got up from her stool, and paused a minute before yelling back at her: “MA’AM! TAKE a look around you. There are only three white folks in this entire building! This is NORTHEAST! It’s not because you’re black, it’s because you’re DRUNK!””

It’s a classic read. Thanks much to Thomas for writing it!

Helen Thomas to Speak at Arlington Library on Sunday

from Arlington web site

Long-time journalist Helen Thomas will be speaking at Arlington’s Centeral Library at 1015 North Quincy Street on Sunday at 2:00. From the Arlington Web page:

Often called “The First Lady of the Press,” veteran White House reporter, author and Hearst Newspapers columnist Helen Thomas looks back as an eyewitness to history and delves into her story when she sits for a conversation with Arlington Public Library Director Diane Kresh. This event is in recognition of National Women’s History Month. A book signing will follow the remarks.

Come on down and meet a true legend in the world of journalists.

Weekend Art

Many of you know that I’m not one to toot my own horn (I’m sure Carl will leave a joke in the comments about that one), but I wanted to let you all know about an incredible photography show going on now at H&F Fine Arts. Curated by J.T. Kirkland, “black and white and…all over” features an eclectic mix of over 100 black and white photographs from experienced veterans as well as up and coming local photographers. From the press release (PDF):

    To highlight the joint articulation of the various works, the identities
    of individual artists will be subordinated; the price of each piece and the initials of its creator will be
    presented on a brightly colored sticker meant to contrast with the dominant black and white palette.
    With the names and reputations of the artists subtracted from the exhibition, the work of seasoned
    veterans will hang alongside that of newcomers just finding their footing in the art world. The curator
    challenges viewers to try and tell the difference while posing the question of whether the distinction is
    even significant.

I took part in hanging the photos last weekend and was amazed by how different each artist is from one another and how amazing each piece is. In fact, if I was independently loaded, I would probably buy half of the photographs hanging in the exhibit. This show hosts quite a line up of photographers:

    Erin Antognoli, James W. Bailey, Danny Conant, Max Cook, Stephen Crowley, Justin Hoffmann, Michael Dax Iacovone, Nick Jbara, Jane Jeffers, J.T. Kirkland, Angela Kleis, Prescott Lassman, Thomas Paradis, Aleksei Pechnikov, Susana Raab, Alexandra Silverthorne, Jim Tetro, Bryan Whitson, Lloyd Wolf

I invite you all to join me at the Artist’s Reception tomorrow, Saturday March 1st, from 5 to 8PM. The exhibit runs until March 29th, and please note that the gallery will be closed between March 21-25.

H&F Fine Arts
3311 Rhode Island Avenue
Mount Rainier, MD 20712

(Don’t let the Maryland address scare you – it’s about one block across the DC/MD border)

The Morning News: Leap Day Edition

Happy Leap Day, that day that comes around once each four years to prolong the suck that is February!

District Property Assessments up 7% in 2007

Congratulations DC! Despite the mortgage lender crises, housing starts on the decline and all manner of other market-depressing factors, your assessed values according to the Revenue office went up 7% last year! Be sure to pay your property tax online promptly to help overcome the $96M deficit we talked about earlier this week.

Maryland Cuts Blue Crab Harvest

There will be less of your amazingly tasty blue crabs harvested this year, so expect prices to take a hike at area crab shacks for a bushel of these tasty crustaceans. Please also take a moment to chuckle politely at the headline writer at, who forgot that it’s “because”. Not “becuase”. Go on. Feel superior.

Wait, that’s against the law? I thought it was a perq!

Turns out the deputy director of the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections has been fired for impersonating a Fairfax County law enforcement officer. She’s been charged in Fairfax County for the infraction. Seriously, what situation makes you feel that’s appropriate?

Working Hard for a Parking Spot

I worked damn hard for this parking spot at 10th and F Street tonight.

First, I helped a flustered woman figure out how to open her super fancy car. Then, when we realized her issue was a dead battery, not being blonde, I jumped started her car.

My reward for doing good deed? A one-hour parking zone till 9pm and it was only 6pm. A night of meter feeding then ensued.

No good deed goes unpunished, eh?


Today’s the 28th, which means there’s but 6 more performances of Zimmerman’s Argonautika at the Shakespeare Theater Company. Tonight, tomorrow, and two shows each on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re trying to remember whether I recommended the show or not, well, good luck with that – despite getting to see it opening week I never did a writeup.

Perversely, that’s not because I didn’t like it – I did – or because I had nothing to say about it. In fact, I had too much to say about it and couldn’t decide on an effective tack. So I’ll tell you in short: if you think you might like to see it, you should go – I suspect you probably will.

If you’re interested in a few of the tidbits that made me so conflicted, look below the fold.

Exterminate! Exterminate!

Two months in and I’m just now hitting my first show of ’08 due to a lack of interesting show choices and a mammoth research project I’m working on.

Last night I caught a terrific triple-bill at the Rock and Roll Hotel. (Who by the way have recently installed a new, wider stage and a totally sick new sound system that makes RNR a venue to die for).

First up was Young Widows a noise-rock trio in the tradition of Jesus Lizard, Helmet, and Big Black. Imagine any one of those bands with a Fugazi-esque shared vocal set-up and you are pretty close to what the Young Widows sound like. Young Widows brought the fury last night, demonstrating a straight-forward, passionate racket that felt vital and necessary in the face of today’s genre-crossing indie climate. It was great to see this new band shred through a set of angst-shouted vocals set to noisey rhythmic rock, minus any pretention or posing. After their admirable set I am now praying for them to come back around on a tour with These Arms Are Snakes (man that would rule).

Ultra-heavy beat, hip-hop duo Dalek were up next. I’ve seen Dalek about five times over the last eight years. I’ve always considered these guys to be the perfect fusion of Hip-Hop and Digital Hardcore, but Digital Hardcore is a genre long-dead so I don’t really know how to describe them in a way that makes current sense. Dalek are much more than a relic of the late 90’s though, putting on suprising sets everytime they come to DC. Last night I was shocked to see that the duo had expanded into a quartet (adding an a live guitar player and a second DJ-type guy). Hip-hop alone is not a descriptor that does these guys justice. Sure the lead singer is one of the best MCs going, but the music to which he raps is such an intense wall of noise and beats that they really drift into controlled noise territory. The addition of the live guitarist took last night’s set to a whole new level. Adding a thrash/shoegazer element to Dalek’s traditonal noise barrage was a stroke of genius and put Dalek on top for best set of the night.

That isn’t to say headliners Russian Circles were slacking, not in the slightest. Falling somewhere between Post-Rock and Metal, Russian Circles tore into a set that for the most part abandoned their quiet-loud formula in favor of laying down some seriously epic head-bangers. I often consider Post-rock/metal shows to be art installations because of the way they inhabit an enviroment and make it their own (unlike any other genre except maybe traditional noise: ie. Whitehouse). Last night Russian Circles didn’t inhabit the RNR Hotel so much as they reenacted the World War II tank battle at Kursk with guitars and drums. It was a power performance that set heads banging and fists pumping, and left ears ringing (for what feels like will be days).

National Chili Day = free Hard Times

WTOP passed along some very important news this morning — today is National Chili Day! To celebrate, Hard Times Cafe is giving out free bowls of chili. They have locations throughout suburban Virginia and Maryland.

Are You There Library of Congress? It’s Me, Max

Everyone got excited early last month when The Library of Congress created their very own Flickr account, aimed at sharing some old public domain photos with us. I think we all agree that this was and still is a very cool idea on their part, but come on! Don’t they know what Flickr is all about? You can’t just post 3,115 photos in the course of a week and then completely stop for two months. Their last photo (featured above) was posted on January 8th, has 48,430 views at the time of this writing, and 306 favorites. Am I missing something? Is there a strike going on over there at the Library Grande?

Obviously there is an interest in their photos by Joe Q. Public so come on, give us some more! I want to see a photo of a dude driving a tractor through a field wearing some grungy overalls and chewing on a piece of hay. I want to see some Confederate soldiers with their muskets in one hand and a tin cup full of battlefield coffee in the other. You know, cool old photos. What would you like to see?

Hands-free hijab

I see a fair amount of women wearing the hijab, but last night was an amusing first for me. Coming the other direction down the sidewalk was a woman having a conversation with someone on a cellphone using a hands-free device. Said hands-free device being her snug headscarf, into which she’d stuck the tongue of her flip-open phone, where it was being held snugly against her face so that she could talk into it without holding it up. Darn clever when the wind is whipping by and making your fingers numb.

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